January 11, 2021: Federal minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh Monday directed the provincial governments and relevant departments to continue momentum of strict price monitoring for provision of basic items at affordable prices across the country.
The minister was chairing the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting here, according to press statement issued by the Finance ministry.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Industries and Production, Hammad Azhar, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Provincial Chief Secretaries, Secretary Ministry for National Food Security and Research (NFS&R), Secretary Industries and Production, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Member Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), Chairman Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), MD PASSCO, MD Utility Stores Corporation (USC), Member IT & Member National Accounts from Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and senior officers of the Finance Division.
The committee reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat, sugar, eggs and edible oil.
Secretary Finance briefed NPMC that prices of wheat and eggs have registered downward trend due to coordinated and consolidated efforts of the Provincial governments.
Federal Minister for NFS&R briefed NPMC about the current status of wheat stock across the country and assured that all possible measures would be taken to ensure uninterrupted supply of wheat at affordable prices.
Hammad Azhar apprised NPMC that production of sugar was likely to increase this year due to improved sugarcane crushing activity and would eventually release pressure on upward price trend.
He also briefed NPMC about the steps being taken to control the prices of edible oil/ghee.
The representative from the Punjab government briefed that a strict action has been taken against the role of middlemen in sugarcane market as directed by NPMC.
He informed that prices of sugar are currently stable in the Province, however, in some areas marginal hike is observed due to fog and weather conditions. Minister for Industries and Production appreciated the efforts of the Punjab Government in minimizing the role of middlemen.
Member PBS presented before NPMC a live dashboard of prices of essential items for comparative analysis which would be helpful in monitoring prices of essential items across major cities and markets in real time.
The system is prepared by PBS to monitor food prices and figure out price fluctuations for timely decision making and smooth coordination among Provincial governments and departments concerned.
The Finance minister lauded the mechanism for effective price monitoring and sound decision making. NPMC directed PBS to hold a meeting with Provincial governments to remove price disparity in essential items and urged the Provinces to draw maximum benefit from the newly developed system.